Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory among root causes of conflict: UN report

By Peter Kenny


GENEVA (AA): Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians are the root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability, and protracted conflict in the region, a new UN report said Tuesday.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, established last year, released its first report on Tuesday.

“The findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel, which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one state occupying the other,” Navanethem Pillay, the chair of the commission , said.

South African judge Pillay, who served as the UN high commissioner for human rights from 2008 to 2014, said the commission also noted that impunity is feeding increased resentment among the Palestinian people.

The probe identified forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza as contributing factors to the recurring cycles of violence.

The commission released its 18-page report after assessing previous commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions, other UN mechanisms, and its own hearings.

Mandate in 2021

On May 27, 2021, the UN Human Rights Council mandated the commission to “investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.”

The commission was to investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to, and since, April 13, 2021.

The investigation undertook two missions to Geneva and one to Jordan and held consultations with various stakeholders, including Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations.

“We also found that these recommendations have overwhelmingly not been implemented,” said the commission.

Recommendations include calls to ensure accountability for Israel’s international humanitarian and human rights law violations and the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel, said the commission.

“It is this lack of implementation coupled with a sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and the persistent discrimination against Palestinians that lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” said Pillay.

“Our review of the findings and recommendations of previous UN mechanisms and bodies clearly indicates that ending Israel’s occupation, in full conformity with Security Council resolutions, remains essential in stopping the persistent cycle of violence,” said the commission.

[Photo: : Israeli forces attack Palestinians protestors as they gather to protest against “flag march”, organized by Jewish settlers in Israeli occupied Hebron,  West Bank, Palestine, on May 29, 2022. PhotographerMamoun Wazwaz/AA]

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